Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lucas Malan - Nevermore

Lucas Malan (1946 - 2010)

Lucas Malan

Paul Gaugin, 1897

When we slept together
like twins entwined
by a webbed membrane
of sheets – we were one
in the blue place of dreaming
on soft pillows suffused
with a fiery rain of lilies outside
for we were still far removed
from treachery and deceit –

Like big smooth fruits, kindred
souls of the fleshy flowers pressed
onto canvas green as clover,
proof against decay we were sheltered
by swooning light and the drowsiness
of our sleepy domain – no word
could disturb it, neither man
nor the throb of pounding waves
came near us – we were sole.

Did we think, then, night after night
wet with sweat and milky
moisture – did we know the palms,
the orchid's maidenlip too
must wilt – did I understand
how lonely Hagar must have been
sleeping alone that first night of nights
on the wrathful pillow illuminated
with the lightning of envy and scorn?

(Translated by Johann de Lange)